George Harrison – The Final Concert. Live At The Royal Albert Hall 1992 (Goldies GS2026CD1/2DVD1)
Disk One: Concert Opening – Joe Walsh – Pretty Maids All In A Row / In The City / Life In The Fast Lane / Funk #49 / Rocky Mountain Way – Gary Moore – Walking By Myself / The Sky Is Crying / The Blues Is Alright / Still Got The Blues – Hari and the Hijack Band – I Want To Tell You / Old Brown Shoe / Taxman / band introduction / Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) / Something (74:21)
Disk 2: What Is Life / Piggies / Got My Mind Set On You / Cloud Nine / Here Comes The Sun / My Sweet Lord / All Those Years Ago / Cheer Down / Isn’t It A Pity / Devils Radio / Introducing Ringo Starr and Gary Moore / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Roll Over Beethoven / drums and percussion / Roll Over Beethoven (Reprise) (74:51)
DVD: I Want To Tell You / Old Brown Shoe / Taxman / band introduction / Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) / Something / What Is Life / Piggies / Got My Mind Set On You / Cloud Nine / Here Comes The Sun / My Sweet Lord / All Those Years Ago / Cheer Down / Isn’t It A Pity / Devils Radio / Introducing Ringo Starr and Gary Moore / While My Guitar Gently Weeps / Roll Over Beethoven / drums and percussion / Roll Over Beethoven (Reprise) – extra video – Interview before concert / Taxman (Rehearsals at Shepperton Studios / Old Brown Shoe (Alternate video / soundboard) / Piggies (Alternate video / soundboard)
In 1992, George Harrison was to play his last live show. Never intentional, his life as a gardener was now pretty steadfast and it was only the fact that the – newly established in the UK – Natural Law Party (advocates of Transcendental Meditation and so on brand to George Harrison), asked George to front a fundraising concert to aid their hopeful accention to government in the UK that George, very quickly, accepted the gig. Their connection to the Maharishi was also a draw to Hari to put on this concert.
Not doing things by halves, the Royal Albert Hall was booked for George’s return to the stage – his first since touring with Bonnie and Delaney in 1969 and George coaxed Joe Walsh and Gary Moore to play warm up support as well as re-employing his old band from last years Japanese tour with Eric Clapton also calling closer to home and roping in Ringo and his son Dhani, then a sprightly 13 years old, for a touch of moral-support.
The concert itself was obviously recorded by entrepreneurial tapers who would smuggle their recorders in to the venue, cameras were also smuggled in to capture this sizeable event in the Beatles calendar – Though the CD bootleg was in it’s infancy at this point, the first – best – recordings originally appeared on ‘Hari And The Hijack Band’ (CD-641992/93) and Overexposed and Hypnotised (OHM 3 CD), more recently the recordings were released on ‘Natural Law Party’ (Silverapple SIAP007/8) which GSparaco reviewed here. As ‘Concert For The Natural Law Party’ (Misterclaudel MCCD-105/106/107) and ‘Royal Albert Hall 1992’ on No Label.
The Goldies label have used their AI skills to bump up this concerts sound while also putting out the film footage that had been shared around with fans previously and also released on the Masterclaudel set from around 3 different sources – Goldies supplement some of the extraneous, additional footage with news reports and interviews.
Using the Silverapple CD as basis for the previous releases as comparison to the sound then this new remaster seems to give a little more appreciation to the audience instead – As George sparks up ‘What Is Life’ for instance, the crowd come over a little stronger than the music. Skipping to ‘Here Comes The Sun’ makes no difference – While it’s not night and day, the Silverapple takes the edge sounding clearer, deeper and more separated. ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is another case in point – I prefer the strength of the original tape as opposed to this master though the harmonies still sound great.
The DVD however is a lovely addition. The main feature uses the new audio remaster over multi-angle shots of the George performance – There were obviously fewer issues with bootleggers in 1992 thought the Albert Hall and with suitably new recording apparatus, there are at least two intrepid fans in the hall who were patient enough to capture the action. No fast cuts, no dizzy effects, maybe a little shaky for the hand-held positioning, the main focus is obviously George but should Andy Fairweather-Low or Mike Campbell storm in with a solo or the backing singers, Kate Kissoon and Tess Niles catch a break, the camera is there to catch them too.
Plus additional material in the form of rehearsals for ‘Taxman’ (Various shots from different angles, all from singular news channels), there’s some footage of both ‘Old Brown Shoe’ and ‘Piggies’ shot from the audience dubbed with a ‘soundboard’ source (Where’s this soundboard from? Would they be thinking of the ‘Live In Japan’ official CD which this audio is suspiciously like?) The visuals are of VHS quality for the news reportage, a little grainy for the audience footage but it’s great to see video that doesn’t focus on being too artistic, more reverential to the artist.
Afraid to say the DVD alone wins it for me. A great and neat compilation of live footage, played through my TV, I can appreciate it for what it is. The new audio remaster on the CDs just didn’t quite excite me as much as I had hoped it might.